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Galatians 3:15-4:7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Promise to Abraham

15 Brothers and sisters,[a] I give an example from daily life: once a person’s will[b] has been ratified, no one adds to it or annuls it. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring;[c] it does not say, “And to offsprings,”[d] as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,”[e] that is, to one person, who is Christ. 17 My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

The Purpose of the Law

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring[f] would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. 20 Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. 22 But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ[g] might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,[h] heirs according to the promise.

My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits[i] of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our[j] hearts, crying, “Abba![k] Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.[l]

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:15 Gk Brothers
  2. Galatians 3:15 Or covenant (as in verse 17)
  3. Galatians 3:16 Gk seed
  4. Galatians 3:16 Gk seeds
  5. Galatians 3:16 Gk seed
  6. Galatians 3:19 Gk seed
  7. Galatians 3:22 Or through the faith of Jesus Christ
  8. Galatians 3:29 Gk seed
  9. Galatians 4:3 Or the rudiments
  10. Galatians 4:6 Other ancient authorities read your
  11. Galatians 4:6 Aramaic for Father
  12. Galatians 4:7 Other ancient authorities read an heir of God through Christ
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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